Prepare garden potatoes! If you’re growing potatoes in your garden you’re going to want to prepare garden potatoes for long term storage. You’ll need to know how to cure them properly and how to store them so you can eat your garden goodies for months after harvest.
Here in Phoenix potato planting has just started in the last few weeks. But I am already thinking about my delicious garden potatoes!
The first thing you need to know is when to harvest your garden potatoes. I know this is hard, when you’re anxious but it is best to wait until the foliage is dead and dead for a week or more. This time allows the skin of the potatoes to toughen up a bit and they’ll suffer less damage when you’re harvesting. And don’t forget to pull back on your watering before you harvest as well.
Prepare Garden Potatoes – Curing
Your next step preparing your garden potatoes for storage is curing them.
- Lightly brush off excess soil. You do not need to wash your potatoes, in fact getting them wet is a bad idea.
- Do your best not to damage the skin of the potato.
- Keep them away from light as much as possible or you’ll have light green skins, which you should avoid eating. You may want to toss a light sheet over them to ensure light doesn’t make its way to your spuds.
- Choose an area that is going to remain cool. Most will tell you between 45 – 60 degrees F. Well when I pull potatoes it is already warmer than that to begin with. I do keep them as cool as possible.
- Humidity helps, 85 – 95% humidity. That’s darn near impossible in Phoenix but I do this in the closet that shares a wall with my shower and it seems to work.
- Lay your potatoes out in a single layer, no piles.
- Make sure you get good air flow in the area you are curing your potatoes.
- After 5 – 7 days turn all your potatoes over.
- Allow them to cure / rest for another 5 – 7 days for 10 to 14 days total.
Prepare Garden Potatoes – Sort Them
Once you’ve allowed your potatoes to cure you’ll need to sort them. You’ll want to remove any potatoes that are discolored, soft or damaged. If they are just damaged you can probably still eat them, just do it soon so they don’t spoil. You don’t want anything that shows signs of rot in with your storage – it could ruin the whole crop.
Prepare Garden Potatoes – Storing
- You’ll want to choose a crate or box that allows air to flow. I like milk crates for this job. But a cardboard box with some holes can work too.
- Continue to keep your potatoes in the dark as much as possible. If you get green spots, cut those off before you prepare them.
- They will still prefer a humid climate but NOT wet.
- Keep them cool, around 40 degrees F is best. If you have a cellar or basement you can store them there. If you’re like me with hot temps and no cellar, you can store them in a garage refrigerator (best investment I’ve made for storage of my root veggies). But do not store your potatoes where they will freeze either!
- You can store them in a warmer area but they are likely to sprout much sooner than you hoped for.
- Keep an eye on your spuds. Watch for any signs for rotting potatoes because that will take out your whole
storage fast if you miss it!
- As a note, it is best not to store your garden potatoes with onions or tomatoes. These give off gases that can sprouting.
- DON’T wash your potatoes until you’re ready to use them!
It is important to note that thicker skinned potatoes like russets are generally going to store longer. You’re thinner skinned like red potatoes will thicken up some in curing but it is best to use those up first as they won’t last as long as the thicker skinned spuds.
These methods should help you to keep your garden potatoes around for months…if you don’t eat them faster. But if you do get some sprouts, save those separately for planting in the next season.
Now you are ready to prepare garden potatoes for long term storage. I love growing potatoes – I’m always delighted to see how much one seed potato will offer me.